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A KSR “Bettering Yourself” Exclusive: Living Your Dream

Friends, we here at Kentucky Sports Radio are nothing if not supportive of you, the reading community. Whether your own personal dream is to run your first marathon or DJ for the reunited Salt N’ Pepa (Spinderella has retired), we here at KSR often sit around the compound thinking to ourselves “If only people had the gumption, nay, the motivation, to follow their dreams.” This is not only because we like the opportunity to drop fancy words like “nay” into normal conversation; it’s also because we care.

As a reader of this site, you must have at least a passing fancy in the Kentucky Wildcats. Not to assume anything, but this is likely because you grew up in the Commonwealth watching the past greats play, only to find that your life as a paramedic didn’t prove as personally rewarding as you thought it would be, and after burning through two failed marriages, the unfortunate loss of a limb and a reckless addiction to Nasonex, you crave something more out of life. To reclaim past glories. To fulfill your destiny. To be what you always knew you could have become — a Kentucky Wildcat basketball player.

And that’s where we come in. We want you to have everything you deserve out of life. And thusly, today we present to you a primer for following the dream. Make no mistake about it. It is possible. And if you follow the following template, you could find yourself suiting up for the 2008-09 season. Don’t thank us now — rather, when you stuff a ball over Tyler Hansbrough and leave him crumpled and crying in the paint, just grab hold of the camera and give us a shout-out. We’ll see it, and all look at each other, smile slightly, and know we’ve performed a job well done.

STEP ONE: Use the resources available to you.
If you know anyone in college, first ask them what college in the twenty-first century is like. Because college has changed in the past ten years. It’s a whole new world out there. You don’t want to show up for your first day of class with a pad and paper only to be embarrassed by the note-taking robots toted around by students these days. And your Screaming Trees tour t-shirt is no longer relevant or even ironic. Call up your college-aged friends and relatives, and follow the script below.
YOU: “Hey ____. How are you doing?”
COLLEGE STUDENT: “I’m good, except for the tightness of the political race right now. As a college student I’m very interested in that.”
YOU: “Yo, that sh*t is wack. So I’m thinking of going back to college, what do you think of that — will I seem out of place?”
COLLEGE STUDENT: “I think you’ll be fine. Do you have a cellular phone?”
YOU: “What’s a cellulink phone?”
COLLEGE STUDENT: “A phone that’s mobile. Everyone has one these days.”
YOU: (silence)
COLLEGE STUDENT: “Uncle ___?”
YOU: “Yo, that sh*t is wack.”

STEP TWO: Contact the school for scholarship opportunities.
A college recruiter is your friend. You need to know that. They want you to be able to attend their school, because having a cool dude like you will help their marketing exponentially and they will probably put you in their commercials. At least you should keep thinking that. That’s positive thinking! So when you call the admissions office, you should remember to assert these things:
1. You are going to mean great things for the university, both athletically and academically.
2. You are going to break as many basketball records as possible.
3. You are going to be a team player on Midnight Madness night, and will agree to don any costume/appear in any videos for entertainment’s sake.
4. You are going to serve as an inspiration to nontraditional students everywhere.
5. You have seen enough basketball played to know how the game operates.

APPENDIX I: Scholarship opportunities
A list of academic and athletic scholarships which may be available to you upon admission may include (but are not limited to) the following:
The Nontraditional Student Act Scholarship
The Jack Givens Achievement in Scholarship Scholarship
The Bill Keightly Excellence in Equipment Management Scholarship
The H.H. Gregg “No Money Until Memorial Day” Scholarship
The Boating Enthusiasts Club of America (BECA) Scholarship

STEP THREE: THE OPEN TRYOUT
Once you’re accepted to the University, and have moved into Blanding Tower with your roommate Blake (his name will be Blake), you will need to contact the Athletics Department to ascertain when open tryouts for a walk-on spot will be held. A checklist for things to remember to bring to your tryout follows:

A physician’s release form
Headband
Sports energy drink
MP3 player (DO NOT bring your phonograph)

Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by the much younger, stronger players competing against you. Remember, Coach Gillispie rewards confidence and effort! This means aggressively going after every loose ball and harnessing your inner strength. No Division 1 basketball coach is going to place his chips behind a 45 year-old carpet salesman who cries. Trash talking will also help cement your new status as a Wildcat-to-be.

APPENDIX II: Trash Talking
Remember: Make these your own! Improvise!
A common list of competitive phrases may include:

“Eat that.”
“Suck on that.”
“Ingest that.”
“Take that out of my house.”
“You are not welcome in my house.”
“Please remove your shoes when you come into my house to score or dunk.”
“That’s what I am talking about.”
“This is what I have just said to you.”
“You have just been taken to school.”
“School is in session.”
“I am not just a teacher in this school, I am a high-ranking administration member.”

STEP FOUR: FINDING YOUR ROLE ON THE TEAM
Congratulations! You have probably received a walk-on position with the team. See? Positive thinking works! During the initial weeks of practice, you will need to determine your specific role on the team. You will also need to ensure that this role is indicated clearly to the many sports writers who will be watching your interaction with teammates. So pick your role and settle into it — it will likely gain you a nickname and a reputation!

Roles may include:

The Team Player
Features: selfless passing, assists, high fives, talking about the team as “family.”
Possible nicknames: “Mr. Go-To,” “Teamy,” “Dr. Phil,” “Technical Support Representative”

The Hotshot
Features: Aggressive ball-handling, last-second shooting, extravagant dunking
Possible nicknames: “Johnny Hothands,” “Sir Shoots-a-lot,” “Carl High Self-Esteemburg”

The Sixth Man
Features: Positive support from the bench, playmaker in clutch situations, extra boost in difficult moments
Possible nicknames: “Fatty”

STEP FIVE: MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR COLLEGE CAREER
As the newest Kentucky Wildcat, you will undoubtedly have fame and love showered upon you wherever you go. It is important that you behave in a respectful manner in the public eye — you want to be remembered fondly by the fan base. Sign autographs when prompted, say “please” and “thank you,” and be nice to Blake’s family on Parent’s Weekend. As another option to increase memorability, you may choose to adapt certain habits or looks which define you as a type of “character.”

APPENDIX III: CHARACTER AFFECTATIONS
Tattoos
Old-school jerseys
Top Hat
Wax Lips
Limp
French Accent
Cartoon stink lines

APPENDIX IV:

Well done! You’ve achieved the nearly-impossible! You’ve turned your life around and recaptured your potential as a University of Kentucky Wildcat! You can now begin reaping the positive rewards of your new life as a college and (hopefully) professional basketball player. All because you stuck to your guns and followed your dreams! We here at KSR wish you all the best in your endeavor, and remember, you can always turn the bittersweet symphony of life into right here, right now!

Years from now, you will be greeted with showers of applause when you are introduced as the illustrious “Y” during a time out in the second half. Although it will be a crowning moment in your life, you mustn’t urinate in your pants when that happens. It will undo all the hard work we have accomplished here.

Now get out there and go get ‘em!

That is all.

Article written by C.M. Tomlin